Christianity and Islam Class

We hear a lot about Islam and Muslims on the news these days, but what do we really know? The snippets we catch from various news feeds don’t do much to give us any depth of understanding of the second largest religion in the world.  Should we be afraid of all Muslims?  Do they pose a threat, by reason of the basic tenets of their beliefs, to non-Muslims?  Is it right to say that all Muslims believe the same thing?  How much of what we hear about Islam is grounded in fact and how much is grounded in fear? 
I think a good way to begin to get a handle on these questions is to study Christianity and Islam together.  To do that, we will be using the study, “Christianity and Islam; So Much in Common, So Far Apart,” by retired United Methodist pastor Ronn Kerr.  It will be a thirteen session study of the similarities and differences of the world’s two largest religions. 
In the first session, we’ll talk about the size and growth of Christianity and Islam around the world.  The next three will compare Jesus and Muhammad in their early years, their ministry years and their time of conflicts.  Then the study covers the time of the Apostles and Caliphs, the schisms and denominations, and the Bible and Quran.  Other sessions will deal with the pillars of both faiths, religious leadership and worship practices, the primary theological beliefs of both religions, the culture and role of women, violence and warfare and the future of the relationship between the two religions. 
To make this class as accessible as possible, I will be leading it on Mondays at 1:30 and Saturdays at 10 a.m., starting on July 10.  Nancy Lewis will be helping me with the class and leading it when I have to be somewhere else.  We have plenty of student books and the ability to legally make more, so everyone can have a book.  Folks will be invited to reimburse us for the actual cost of the book, if that is possible.  For folks who will have a hard time attending classes in person, I will work out a way to share basic class information  
I am excited about this class.  It will also be a good review of basic Christian beliefs because we can’t compare religions unless we strive to understand them both.  I hope you will make this class a part of your weekly schedule this year.